Tag Archives: fairy tales

The Frozen Castle by Lisa

I sweep the frost from the path, whisking it away, just as my lady always asked of me when winter came. Some small part of me asks why I bother, when it will only build up again, with no feet to wander it but my own, and that of my broom.

It’s a curse that brought this everlasting winter on the castle of my birth. A curse, and love. Though what the difference is these days, I’m only half sure I remember.

With the grounds cleared, I gather my courage, to walk among statues.

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Fun Friday: Crafty Fantasy Fans!

Hello and Happy Friday!  Lisa here.  As some of you may know, in my other life, I’m a yarnie and bookbinder.  I’m also a big promoter of the craft site Etsy, and I have a little shop there where I sell my journals.  I’m far from being the only fantasy-loving craftie on the site, though, and I wanted to showcase a couple of the fun things people make, inspired by the very kinds of stories we love here.

Firstly, a journal from a fellow bookbinder… this is, yes, a Vampire Diary, by repaper.

It wasn’t exactly inspired by the show or the books, according to the listing, but personally I can’t help but thinking about a Salvatore or two when I look at it.  I think the toothy look of the binding and the bits of red “blood” are especially clever.  Fun!

Secondly, some Summer Fairies yarn by WeirdAndTwisted.

This yarn shop is fab.  I also really like her handspun that’s inspired by Hagrid’s coat on Harry Potter.  This fairy yarn is lush and perfect, though… it definitely looks fairy-worthy.

This next listing is reverse-engineered by BoopieCreations from the new movie Alice in Wonderland, which I just reviewed on Monday.

You can see just how close this knitter came to the originals, in the picture here.  You can also find a lot of Twilight knits on Etsy, of course!

And lastly, because I was so excited to run across it…

This is a lovely necklace by cynthial11 that’s inspired by Maggie Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls series, shown with a cover of Shiver, one of my favorite books that I read last year.  The sequel, Linger, is due out in just a little over a month (July 20th!) and I can’t wait!  You can read our interview with Maggie right here.

I just love seeing how people can take inspiration from myths and stories and create beautiful things—or recreate, as the case may be.  Are any of you crafters?  What inspires you?


Lisa’s Tuesday Perspective: Fairy Tales Retold

We all know the story of Cinderella.  Girl’s mother dies, her father remarries to a horrid woman with horrid daughters, and the girl becomes a servant in her own home—until a fairy godmother and a discerning, shoe-toting prince change everything forever.  It’s a simply story—the Grimm’s brother’s version is only two or three pages long.

That said, if you look up “Cinderella” on Goodreads, no less than 54 pages of results pop up.  That’s over 1000 books somehow based on thbe story of Cinderella—and that’s only one little fairy tale (though granted, it’s a very well known one!) and that doesn’t count tv, movie and play adaptations.

So what is it about a fairy tale—any fairy tale—that makes us reach for them over and over again, even if we already know how it’s going to end?  Is that what we like?  Knowing that—minus a few intentionally twisted versions—the girl ends up with the boy, and everything ends up happily ever after.

Or is it more of a tug-of-war in our hearts, where we want something old and familiar, but we also can’t help but yearning for something new and exciting?  Could it even be… *gasp* a bit of a sell-out?  People re-telling something they already know will sell, because it has so many times before?

Maybe another question I should be asking, is, why do we feel the need to recreate something—why can’t people come up with brand new fairy tales all on their own?  Some certainly have—look at Neil Gaiman, for example.  Or Maggie Stiefvater, who I can’t stop raving about.

So what do you think?  What is it about a retold fairy tale that appeals to you?  What are the turn-offs?  What are the best ones you’ve read?  We’re always curious to know your thoughts!


Thursday Myths & Legends 101: Fairy Godmothers

edmund-dulac-fairy-godmotherFairy godmothers are pretty much ubiquitous in the world of fairy tales, right?  I mean, they’re everywhere!  Or… so it seems.  Actually, when you stop to think about it, though, that’s not quite true.  Oh, it’s true when you start to look at contemporary stuff, and retellings, of course, but take a glance at the wide canon of fairy tales out there in the real world, and you start to realize that they’re not quite that common after all. In fact, if you think about it, only two of the basic fairy tales happen to involve fairy godmothers—they just happen to be about the most famous fairy tales of all.

Of course I’m talking about Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty.  You might be surprised (or not) to hear that in many renditions of Cinderella (including the Brothers Grimm story of Aschenputtel) Cinderella is helped,not by a fairy godmother, but by the spirit of her dead mother.

Okay, so now that I’ve told you all about what fairy godmothers, aren’t, let’s take a look at what they are, hm?

Firstly, the reason that fairy godmothers are so rare in fairy tales to begin with, is because they really don’t act much like fairies.  I mean, think about it.  Fairy godmothers are generous, and always looking out for the well-being of their charge, whereas fairies in general will, if they pay any attention to humans at all, do their best to spite them and/or cause them harm in some way that amuses the fairies.  They’re not exactly known for their benevolence.

In early stories, also, fairy godmothers had all the normal duties of a regular godmother, and were often representative of social connections—think of the blessings the three good godmothers give to the princess in Sleeping Beauty.  Fairy godmothers were, in a subtle (or sometimes not so subtle) way, a lesson in the old adage that it’s not what you know, but who.  It certainly would be difficult to turn down connections with someone who had magical powers to bestow!  But fairy godmothers—like any other powerful connection, were understood to be someone you were to show respect to, or beware the consequences.  Think, for example, of the wronged godmother in Sleeping Beauty—you don’t want those powerful connections turning against you!

Fairy godmothers were also largely associated with the Fates of Greek mythology at one time.  You can see this the clearest in Sleeping Beauty also, with the number of three [good] godmothers, and with all that spinning going on. 😉

cinderella2 Interesting, isn’t it, that something fairly rare in fairy tales ended up being so huge in our modern vernacular?  I mean, really, how many times have you heard someone say something like, “She is like, my fairy godmother!” ?  On the one hand I find it kind of strange, but then on the other… I guess it really does make a lot of sense.  Because who would forget the possibility, after you’d heard that story?  Who’s ever walked away from Cinderella not half-hoping or wishing that she had a fairy godmother of her own, to wave a wand and give her a pretty dress and a shot at the kind, beautiful (if not slightly plastic-looking) prince?  Not many of us, I don’t think.

If you want to check out some more modernly tales of fairy godmothers, have a glance at My Scary Fairy Godmother by Rose Impey, or Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story by Carolyn Turgeon.


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